What We’re Playing This Week on Inside Social Games

[Editor’s Note: Each week, we roundup the games our editors and contributors have played during the week. Quite apart from our standard reviews format and our weekly AppData rankings charts, this post is intended to share an opinion-based viewpoint of the games we play with scores out of a 10-point scale assigned for emphasis.]

CastleVille — Zynga’s newest Facebook game feels like FrontierVille, plays like CityVille, and has some of the best music we’ve ever heard in any game — social or console. Like Ravenskye City, the game started off a bit stingy with the energy gauge, which limits gameplay sessions to maybe 20 minutes once per day. It looks like Zynga has tweaked the amount of energy a player can earn by performing tasks like chopping down trees or constructing buildings, however, meaning we can now potentially play more times per day without getting out our wallets. The PvE could use some work as we waste a lot of the energy gauge beating on wolves and rats even after crafting special items that ostensibly kill them off more quickly.
Score: 8
Here’s the app.

Coco Girl — Metrogames second fashion title for Facebook puts a lot of emphasis on the daily outfits players choose for their avatars. It also features several mini-games that are incorporated into the daily quests that players complete to earn more virtual currency to spend on items. We’ve had more fun playing these mini-games, which include a hidden object game and a pipes puzzle, than we have had shopping for clothes in Coco Girl. Maybe if there weren’t so many restrictions on which types of clothes players could buy (Heart type, actual price, Facebook Credits-only, etc.), we’d pay more attention to the shopping part.
Score: 6
Here’s the app.

The Sims Social — EA’s Facebook version of its Sims series started off as a 10 in our minds, but now that the game is three months old, it’s lost some of that newness that lent the game such a broad appeal. Lately, our gameplay sessions consist of clicking through requests in our inbox and looking for new stuff to buy in the store, since we’ve maxed out both our skill levels on a variety of objects and our trait levels. Unless EA Playfish adds a significant game-changer in the next week or so (pets, the ability to have babies, group lots we can visit to do other stuff besides shop), we’ll probably shelve this to focus on newer games.
Score: 6
Here’s the app.

Triviador — While waiting around for EA Playfish to launch Risk: Factions, we tried out another Risk-style board game for Facebook called Triviador. This title turned out to be more like a game show because of the trivia emphasis, but the conquer-the-map gameplay is still very compelling especially with the grave-sounding voice over and rousing battle music. Though most of the trivia questions are based on number answers (e.g. “What year did X happen?” “How many X in a Y?” etc.), Triviador has a pretty transparent system for determining which player wins ties or wins in the case where both answered the question incorrectly.
Score: 7
Here’s the app.